While North Korea’s Deputy Ambassador Kim In-ryong expressed interest in negotiations during his conversation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, he cautioned that the international community shouldn’t expect the nuclear program to be immediately on the table.
Rather, Ambassador Kim said that North Korea is committed to keeping its nuclear arsenal for “deterrence” so long as they believe the US poses a nuclear threat to them, and that any negotiations on eliminating that arsenal would have to mean the US stopping their general hostile policy and threats.
This has been a struggle with negotiations getting off the ground involving the two nations, as both North Korea and the US are keen for the other side to make large concessions as a show of good faith, and neither seems willing to act first.
Previous talk has been that North Korea would be willing to stop nuclear and missile testing, but not necessarily commit to wholesale disarmament, in return for the US backing away from its annual military exercise with South Korea, effectively a practice invasion of the north held annually.
But the US is reluctant to give up the wargames, and also unhappy with North Korea agreeing to something short of disarmament. While there’s clearly at least some room for limited deals to reduce tensions and try to build confidence,it’s not wholly clear there’s an appetite to make such deals yet.
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